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Is Bill Clinton’s Senate Pep Talk Bad News?

Bill Clinton spoke to the Senate Democratic caucus today in support of health care reform. He urged them forward, telling assembled senators that this legislation is the smart thing to do politically, morally, and economically. Clinton’s pep talk should not make progressives cheer. He is still gun shy from his own failure, and he basically told the Senate Democrats to pass anything, and do it quickly. And I do mean pass anything.

First Read caught Clinton on his way into the Senate where he ran into Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME),

When former President Bill Clinton walked into the Capitol this afternoon for luncheon with Senate Democrats, he pushed a healthcare proposal championed by Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. But based on the context of his comments he was probably more joking and courteous, than serious.

“I’m gonna tell them Olympia [Snowe] is right. They ought to follow Olympia,” he said with a big grin as he walked away. Snowe’s proposal would allow a public option to be “triggered” in states only if private companies failed to offer affordable insurance plans.

Sadly, I doubt that Clinton was joking at all. Rahm Emanuel, who has been pushing the trigger idea for almost a year, is a former senior advisor to President Clinton. A month ago, Bill Clinton openly endorsed Snowe’s trigger and called it a “good idea.” Clinton has never been a strong supporter of the public option, and he shares Rahm’s goal of getting anything passed and labeling it a win.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is now living in the Washington DC area. He created a politics and policy blog, The Walker Report (http://jwalkerreport.blogspot.com/).

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